The works Ducati squad will run three bikes next season in an attempt to wrest its crown back from the Castrol Honda outfit.

Having lost Carl Fogarty early in the 2000 campaign, and had to shuffle its riding strength to give WSBK rookie Ben Bostrom more time to learn the circuits, the Italian operation is regrouping for the new season, and has added an extra entry in order to take on the likes of world champion Colin Edwards and new threat Neil Hodgson.

Fogarty's replacement, Troy Bayliss, keeps his ride with the team, having shown well in his first 'full' WSBK season and taken two race wins, while Bostrom comes back into the fold with a year's experience under his Evel Knievel belt. Joining the pair, however, will be Supersport graduate Ruben Xaus, a rider well respected by the retired Fogarty.

The Spaniard, who replaces compatriot Juan Borja in the line-up, struggled to come to grips with the less powerful machines this season, but is tipped to handle a full-blown WSBK machine with greater aplomb.

All three riders will use the new 996 racing model which Bayliss and Xaus have already tested in private this year.